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ANTI-LGBTQ BILL SB 1978 PASSES THE TEXAS HOUSE, MOVES TO THE GOVERNOR
EQUALITY TEXAS DECRIES PASSAGE OF ANTI-LGBTQ ‘DOG WHISTLE’ MEASURE
Austin, Texas-May 20, 2019-Today, the Texas House passed SB 1978 (Hughes) in a 79-62 vote, a measure that began as the most discriminatory bill filed this session.
The bill as amended creates virtually no change in Texas law, and is wholly unnecessary because federal and state constitutions as well as Texas law already protect religious freedom, including the right to membership in or affiliation with a religious organization.
“Senate Bill 1978 has one aim only: to undermine LGBTQ equality and promote anti-LGBTQ messages. This bill is a ‘dog whistle’ to encourage discrimination against LGBTQ Texans, and advances messages that hurt the LGBTQ community,” said Samantha Smoot, Interim Executive Director of Equality Texas.
“SB 1978 is part of an insidious, coordinated strategy to advance anti-LGBTQ messages and discriminatory public policies. It’s an outrage that the Texas Legislature is continuing to advance rhetoric that harms LGBTQ people, in defiance of public support for equal rights and violation of pledges made in January that there would be no attacks on the LGBTQ community this session.”
“These anti-LGBTQ messages create an environment that allows for dehumanization, discrimination, and ultimately violence against, LGBTQ people. There is a direct connection between discrimination-motivated initiatives like SB 1978 and the violence suffered by Muhlaysia Booker,” continued Smoot.
SB 1978 and its companion HB 1372 lifted strategy and even specific text directly from “Project Blitz,” a national far-right initiative to propagate model anti-LGBTQ legislation. Rep. Matt Krause even drew sections of his layout remarks this morning from the manual. (You can access the full Project Blitz manual here.) Project Blitz is a creation of David Barton’s Wallbuilders (Aledo, TX) and the Congressional Prayer Foundation, organizations with direct connections to several Texas lawmakers.
Rep. Celia Israel, speaking against the bill on the House floor, said, “You may not think you are hurting Texas children today with this bill, but you are…the genesis and nexus of this bill are in hatred.”
“We are proud of the first LGBTQ Caucus in Texas for fighting against this measure every step of the way. Today, Caucus founders Rep. Mary Gonzalez of El Paso, Rep. Celia Israel of Austin, Rep. Julie Johnson of Carrollton, Rep. Jessica Gonzalez of Dallas and Rep. Erin Zweiner of Driftwood stood tall in defense of the LGBTQ community, delivering impassioned speeches about the real harm caused by discrimination and negative rhetoric against our community and making the case that all Texans should be treated with dignity and respect,” said Smoot.
SB 1978 now moves to the Governor’s desk, where he is expected to sign the bill into law.
Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization working to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration. The Equality Texas Foundation works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Texans through education, community organizing, and collaboration.